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Early Christmas present for rural pubs

First eight pubs awarded money.

Deputy county council leader, Blake Pain, with Michael Cosgrove, owner of the Bluebell Inn in Desford, one of the first pubs to receive £1,000, and Peter Bedford, county councillor for Desford

Money from a brand new initiative supporting struggling rural pubs is being awarded to landlords across Leicestershire, just days after the scheme launched. Leicestershire County Council is offering a one-off payment of £1,000 to support small village pubs which are unable to open their doors over the festive period. Around 100 have already applied - and this week, the first eight pubs are being awarded cash and another 20 being put in the post. Launched last Friday (18 Dec), the scheme – thought to be the only one of its kind in the country - aims to keep people in jobs, maintain the role of the pub as a community hub and help them to diversify by providing extra services for residents.

Michael Cosgrove, owner of the Bluebell in Desford - one of the first pubs to receive £1,000 - said: "Pubs are the beating heart of any rural community, not just at Christmas but all year round. Many pubs have diversified and have continued to help their communities whilst still being shut.

"For the county council to recognise this and help with this gesture, will go a small way to help plug the gap between what support we do need to survive and what we are currently receiving from the government. Pubs are integral to our society and we should be doing the upmost to keep as many as we can operating after this crisis."

It’s hoped that the scheme will support up to 200 community pubs and is backed by major trade body, the British Beer and Pub Association, which represents around 20,000 of the country’s pubs.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive, said: “It’s great to see the speed with which Leicestershire County Council is moving in order to ensure the additional financial support they have offered gets into the hands of the county’s small rural wet led pubs that are unable to open over the festive period. The situation facing pubs is urgent in the extreme, so the pace with which the council is acting is brilliant.

“We are calling on central Government to increase the current grant payments for pubs impacted by the tighter restrictions and now the likely prolonged period of full closure and continued severe trading restrictions in 2021. I am delighted that Leicestershire County Council recognises the vital social and economic role that local pubs play in their local communities and I urge other local authorities to follow suit and Government to take note.”

Pubs need to be in a Leicestershire village able to show how they provide a vital community role.

Find out more and apply

Applications will be processed over the next few weeks – the first eight pubs to receive money are:

  • The Sugar Loaf, Ab Kettleby

  • The Anchor Inn, Nether Broughton

  • The Plough Inn, Stathern

  • Geese and Fountain, Croxton Kerrial

  • The Lancaster Arms, Desford

  • The Bluebell Inn, Desford

  • Old Hare and Hounds, Anstey

  • The Elephant and Castle, Thurlaston

During the pandemic, the council has also:

Given over half-a-million-pounds of Government funding to food banks and community groups – Leicestershire’s slice of the £63m from Defra

Launched a £2.1m fund to support communities – a hospice, a homelessness service and a charity supporting young, older and vulnerable people are just three of those awarded money

Established a £750,000 fund supporting small businesses to get back on their feet


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